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Sewing machine problems

(8 Posts)
ErnesttheBavarian Thu 28-Jul-11 14:12:19

I am trying to sew a new cover for a footstool. Have bought furniture fabric, so quite thick, and ribbed.

Every time I try to sew, it will either refuse to do 1 stitch, just needle gets stuck down and big ball of chewed up thread underneath which I have to cut free. Or it'll do say half a dozen stitches max, when it will get stuck as before, and the few stitched are all big loops underneath. I have tried adjusting both the bobbin and the thread tension, but it hasn't made any difference.

Time is running out, and I feel like weeping.

Plus, I next have to adjust some curtains which are very very thin delicate cotton, and am terrified of starting that, as it's fabric wise the opposite end of the scale, and I can't ruin my curtains!

What's wrong, how do I fix it, and how do I avoid problems with the curtains, that is, if I every get this done, thanks

Fayrazzled Thu 28-Jul-11 14:41:48

Have you tried the following:

* New needle (one especially for heavier fabric, I'd say at least a 14 and perhaps even bigger). Opposite for the fine curtains (I'd go for an 11 or smaller).

* Rethread the machine- are you using decent thread? I prefer 100% cotton thread by Gutterman or Coates over polyester thread, although you'll need polyester thread if your fabric is manmade or has a significant man made content. Again a decent brand like Gutterman.

* Rethread the bobbin case and make sure there are no loose threads caught in the bobbin carriage or feed dogs.

* Do you have your manual to hand? I never mess with the bobbin tension- have a look in your manual and reset the stitch lenght, width and tension according to a basic straight stitch. Have a play on some scrap fabric.

Hope this helps. I know it sounds rudimentary, but I often find changing the needle for a new one and/or rethreading sorts any problems out.

ErnesttheBavarian Thu 28-Jul-11 15:44:49

thank you so much. I put in a new needle and re-readjusted the bobbin tension, and rethreaded the machine, and hey presto. Thank you so much!

One final Q then, the material seems to fray easily, so do I just normal straight stitch, zig zag then straight stitch, or I have a stitch that's like a combo of these 2, ie a zig zag with straight at either end?

hophophippidtyhop Fri 29-Jul-11 16:21:36

What I normally do is get my mum over, she adjusts and tries everything that I have tried, but for some reason it works for her not me! You could zig zag the fabric edge before you sew to prevent fraying.

stealthsquiggle Fri 29-Jul-11 16:27:34

General rule - if machine plays up, unthread it completely, and rethread. If that fails, new needle. Both issues will cause a surprisingly wide range of problems.

On the fraying fabric - if you have corners, etc to trim - then make it up with straight stitch, trim as required, and then zigzag edges.

stealthsquiggle Fri 29-Jul-11 16:29:46

I will agree to disagree with Fayrazzled, though - although I do have gutterman threads, for the vast majority of things I use Moon thread at a tiny fraction of the price with no issues at all (but then I am mostly making bags, costumes, etc for DC, and Gutterman thread would be a significant portion of the total cost of materials)

ErnesttheBavarian Fri 29-Jul-11 17:11:21

so you wouldn't bother with the 2-in-1 zig zag/straight stitch fancy combo? def sew it all, trim, then zig zag? So would I then be zig zagging the 2 bits together? cos trying to zig zag each length of fabric would be too difficult if already sewn up?

Wow, thanks.

WIsh I had learnt how to sew properly.

stealthsquiggle Fri 29-Jul-11 17:17:51

Hard to say without seeing what you are doing - if you have no corners that are likely to need to be clipped and your pieces are accurately cut like mine never are then all-in-one stitch will save some time. If you are going to want to press seams open, you will have to finish the two bits separately. If you are going to trim then zig-zagging the two together might be easiest.

Does that make any sense at all? Bear in mind this comes from someone who hates finishing seams so much that most things I make are fully lined so that I don't have to (finish the seams) blush

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